We all know the hysterical prognostications by now. With PC sales down by double-digit percentages, it's the end of the PC era as we know it, it's all about tablets from here on in, yadda yadda yadda.
Well, it's not, says the feisty CEO of Razer, maker of gaming PCs and equipment. Min-Liang Tan pulled no punches in his interview with The Verge, discussing why PC sales are down, saying giants like HP and Dell aren't billing themselves as PC companies and making no attempt at innovation in that space.
"They just don't want to do anything with the PC anymore. Look, HP tried to get rid of their PC division and Dell said 'we're not a PC company anymore, we're now an enterprise company,'" Tan told The Verge's Nathan Olivarez-Giles.
Olivarez-Giles defended the industry, saying many PC makers follow Apple's aesthetic lead. True that. I can walk up and down the laptop aisles and see many laptops that blatantly rip off the brushed aluminum look of the MacBook. But that's not innovation.
Razer has announced two new laptops based on the Haswell generation of chips from Intel, which just launched a few days ago. There's the 14-inch model with an Nvidia discrete GPU and SSD drive for the Apple-like price of $1,799 and the 17-inch model is $2,299.
Besides being slick laptops with top-of-the-line hardware and large batteries, all in a 0.66-inch thick case, they also come free of the bloatware that renders most PCs unusable. I recently purchased a one-year-old model HP laptop and the first hour of ownership was spent uninstalling garbage.
That's something Lenovo, the one major successful PC maker, and smaller boutique shops like Razer, Alienware (a Dell company) and Falcon Northwest know. People hate that garbage and don't want their PC cluttered with useless "utilities" that only slow it down.
Tan is right that the big players are uninspired with their work. For a while, Dell seemed to want to challenge Apple in hardware design. But a quality reputation has dogged them. Don't take my word for it, look online. HP has been a confused mess, not knowing from one week to the next what it wants to do.
Lenovo has proven that with product leadership and some guidance, it is possible to sell PCs. They have nice hardware, good quality, competitive pricing and no bloatware. For too long, the competition has drifted from one generation to the next with hardly anything new or exciting for hardware. My iPhone has better integration with my car via Bluetooth than it does with a PC. That's pathetic.
Razer is bringing innovation with its Switchblade interface, found on the 17-inch model. With all laptops going widescreen, OEMs are cramming full-size keyboards onto them, but I would much rather have Switchblade than the number pad on my left. That's thinking differently.
The PC OEMs have to stop complaining and making excuses and start designing something just as unique. Make us want to buy from you, and not out of obligation or because of your name.